Ratification of Convention on Protection from Enforced Disappearance as
Part of the Commitment to Protect Victims of Human Rights Violations
IKOHI and KontraS, supported by the Madres de the Plaza de Mayo of Argentina, AFAD, and Amnesty Internasional request the National Commission of Human Rights to give special attention to the great slowness of the process to sign the Convention on Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance as the Government of Indonesia promised during a session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in March 2007. In this session, Hamid Awaluddin, as Minister of Law and Human Rights, stated that the government’s National Plan of Action of recent years testifies to its strength of purpose in upholding human rights.
Formal adoption of the Convention to Protect All Persons from Enforced Disappearance by the UN at the end of 2006 marks a long struggle of sweat, blood, and tears of mothers of families of the disappeared, including the mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, Argentina. Mothers of the disappeared in Indonesia are involved through the active role of KontraS and Ikohi as members of the Asian Federation Against Disappearances (AFAD).
This convention obligates states to take strategic steps to investigate acts of enforced disappearance by individuals or groups acting without the “authorization, support or acquiescence of the State and to bring those responsible to justice” (Article 3).
We view the National Commission for Human Rights as a strategic institution to join in urging for ratification of this convention. As Indonesia’s primary human rights institution, the National Commission for Human Rights can use its authority to conduct research on the urgency of ratifying the Convention, then recommending to the Government that the Convention immediately be put on the docket for the National Legislation Program of 2010. This would be a clear sign of the government’s commitment to protect victims of human rights violations.
While the legal process for various cases of enforced disappearance in Indonesia ends at a dead end, ratification of this convention is especially important to prevent similar cases from occurring in the future. It is also important that perpetrators responsible for these violations be brought to justice in order to deter others. It is truly regrettable that at this time perpetrators, who should be held accountable, are instead competing for the leadership of this nation.
Once again, we ask the National Commission for Human Rights to take an active role in moving forward this issue. The movement of mothers of victims of enforced disappearance who have struggled for ratification of this UN Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance is a universal movement that asks the state to be accountable for a question that, until now, remains unanswered: Where are the victims who remain disappeared and what is their fate?
Jakarta, 17 April 2009
IKOHI, KontraS, Madres de Plaza de Mayo Argentina, AFAD and Amnesty Internasional